Hope Creates Helps Young Artists on Their Journey Out of Addiction

 In Culture, Event

From the ancient Greeks to Ernest Hemingway, Amy Winehouse to Mac Miller—for as long as there have been artists, there have also been the pervasive myth that creative people require the reckless abandon of drugs and alcohol to make their work.

But for just as long, those same substances have corroded and even stolen the lives of many of our brightest talents, and often far too soon. That’s why one St. Louis nonprofit is here to launch a new legend—and you can help them do it.

Hope Creates Helps Young Artists on Their Journey Out of Addiction

Image of artwork by Alyssa U., courtesy of Kathie Thomas.

Founded in 2017, local 501(c)3 Hope Creates takes an innovative approach to helping youth in recovery: focusing on their identity as artists, not addicts, and helping give them the skills they need to thrive in creative careers even as they face the unique challenges of maintaining sobriety. This September, they’re taking a moment to honor National Recovery Month and celebrate the success of their young artists, 85 percent of whom founder Kathie Thomas says have remained sober since the program began.

“This is an impressive outcome in the recovery space,” Thomas says. “Staying sober is hard, yet community, a sense of self-worth, ‘screaming fun’ and engaged families help immensely.”

At Hope Creates’ inaugural gala luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 21, at .ZACK in Grand Center, guests will have the opportunity to hear from these young artists directly when some of them will be invited on stage to share their stories of how Hope Creates’ innovative slate of programs have helped them on their journey from addiction to recovery.

Hope Creates Helps Young Artists on Their Journey Out of Addiction

Image of Sarah B. and David B., courtesy of Kathie Thomas.

Jason Bockman, co-founder of Strange Donuts and a noted local philanthropist himself, will be among them; though his recovery journey began with an arrest at just 11 years old, he has since gotten clean, and he believes that the work of Hope Creates, along with his own “success and tough road along the way will inspire others and bring them hope to overcome.”

And on the following day, you can return to see the artists’ work in person, when .ZACK will be transformed into a gallery space for more than 39 young people in the program who have maintained their sobriety for a year or more. The exhibit is free and open to the whole family.

Hope Creates Helps Young Artists on Their Journey Out of Addiction

Image of Hope Creates art by Grace B., courtesy of Chad Sucker.

It promises to be a inspiring weekend that will serve as a bright spot in the midst of a dark moment in our national addiction story. In 2018, we saw the highest rate of drug overdoses on record, and Missouri consistently ranks among the highest-impacted states. But the work of Hope Creates is having an impact, too–and it’s a model that can make an even bigger mark.  “If results are our guide, we have to fight this pandemic in new and creative ways,” Thomas says. “We are doing this one young person at a time.”

Featured image of a work in progress by Alyssa U. and Max D., courtesy of Kathie Thomas.

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